British grant-giving foundations will join forces with European funders to play a greater role in battling world poverty by financing health research to help meet the Millennium Development Goals.
Spearheaded by the UK-based Nuffield Trust and the Global Forum for Health Research, grant-giving foundations across Europe are developing a strategy to work with partners in the health field on development and poverty relief.
The strategy is part of the 'Europe In The World' campaign, a wider drive by the European Foundation Centre, an umbrella group representing thousands of foundations across Europe, to encourage more funders to support projects outside the EU.
The Global Forum for Health Research is helping foundations identify how they can play a greater role in working towards the UN's Millennium Development Goals, that seek to alleviate global poverty by 2015. These include supporting research across a range of areas, including drugs, vaccines and new medical technologies.
Funding could also be ploughed into projects working to raise awareness of global health issues, lobbying European politicians and supporting NGO health networks. Foundations could also work at country level to support grassroots initiatives based around the Millennium Development Goals.
The European Foundation Centre is also urging UK foundations to sign up to its '5 per cent' challenge, which aims to get foundations to devote 5 per cent of annual funding to initiatives outside Europe.
"We need foundations across Europe to join in the fight to encourage an ethos of global responsibility and that means taking an outward-looking approach to project funding," said John Richardson, chief executive at the European Foundation Centre.